How To Make Calendula Oil (And 7 Ways To Use It)


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calendula-oil-recipe

I eat pansies for breakfast.

Like, the actual flowers. Not very often, but enough to want a t-shirt that says so.

Edible flowers are more than just a fun conversation starter, though. The soothing properties of calendula (Calendula officinalis), for example, have a long history of use in both folk medicine and culinary traditions.

Gentle enough for babies and yet potent enough to draw the attention of researchers, calendula is often used as first aid for cuts, scrapes and bug bites, to soothe a sunburn, as a rinse for pinkeye, relief for sore throats, and as a salve for diaper rash.

PubMed is full of fascinating studies that are exploring its many benefits . . . some of which we’ll dive into later in this article.

On the culinary side, calendula petals have traditionally been added to butter, cheese and custards to enhance their golden color. Because its flavor is similar to saffron – which tends to be pretty pricey – it’s sometimes used as a substitute. Unlike rare herbs that tend to be expensive and difficult to find, calendula is easy to grow or buy for an affordable price.

As always, none of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to diagnose, cure, or treat any condition. Okay, let’s dive in!

What is calendula oil?

Calendula flowers contain a wide variety of beneficial compounds – particularly triterpenoids and flavonoids – that have both external and internal therapeutic effects. They’re often brewed into a tea, prepared as a tincture, or extracted into oil. Let’s take a look at these preparations and how they’re used:

calendula tea

 Tea Extractions – Water based extracts (aka tea) are usually consumed internally, but occasionally some (like calendula and chamomile) are used externally for issues like skin or eye irritation.

In general they have a very short shelf life, however some very concentrated teas are mixed with honey to make long-lasting herbal syrups such as elderberry syrup.

Tinctures –  This type of herbal preparation uses alcohol or glycerin to extract beneficial compounds, which gives them an extremely long shelf life. They’re taken internally and used occasionally for external wound care or other skin applications. Some examples of tinctures are this one for restful sleep and this one for adrenal support.

Oil Extractions – The calendula oil recipe below and this plantain oil recipe are both oil extractions, which have a much longer shelf life than tea. They’re most often used externally, however calendula oil also makes a delicious, gut-soothing addition to homemade salad dressing. (Use it like you would regular olive oil.)

Also known as infused oils, herbs extracted using oil can be made in a number of ways. In the tutorial below I’ll share two methods with you. With both methods the goal is the same – mix herbs and oil so that the oil can draw out the helpful properties of the herbs.

Don’t have time to make your own?

One of the most common questions I get when I post a recipe is “Hey, do you sell this?”

I get it, no one has time to make #allthethings all the time! Although I don’t have a shop to sell the recipes I share here, I can recommend this organic calendula oil if you’re looking for a pre-made option.

Calendula Oil Recipe - Calendula’s soothing properties make it a favorite for supporting wound healing, nourishing skin and promoting gut health. It's easy to grow or buy at an affordable price for use in teas, infused oils, salves, compresses and more. Here's a super easy method for making it into an infused oil, along with five ways to use it!

How do I use calendula oil?

Calendula’s soothing properties make it a favorite for supporting wound healing, nourishing skin and promoting gut health. It’s often used as:

  1. First aid for cuts, scrapes, burns, sunburns, bug bites and other minor skin irritations. I make the oil into a calendula salve that can be kept in my purse without leaking.
  2. Face and lip care – Infused calendula oil is the “secret ingredient” behind many beloved face serums and lip balms. Use it in place of regular olive oil in this lip balm recipe.
  3. Diaper rash – I like to apply the oil (or a salve made from it) and then sprinkle some bentonite clay over the area. Both calendula oil and clay are considered cloth diaper friendly.
  4. Chapped or dry skin – Calendula is thought to support the integrity of skin, thus allowing it to retain healthy moisture levels.
  5. Salad dressing – Yep, really! Calendula is considered soothing for the skin and the digestive tract. It has a mild flavor similar to saffron. I use it in a basic salad dressing recipe in place of plain olive oil.
  6. Massage oil – You can read more about the benefits of massage here, and calendula oil can be used as the carrier oil in the recipes listed.
  7. Body butter – Here’s a recipe to try.

How To Make Calendula Oil

Calendula’s soothing properties make it a favorite for supporting wound healing, nourishing skin and even promoting gut health. Here are two super easy methods for making it into an infused oil.

Ingredients

  • Organic dried whole calendula flowers
  • Olive oil (Or another oil that you prefer. Avocado and almond oil are good options, as is jojoba. However, jojoba is not edible so don’t use if if you’re planning to use your calendula in salad dressing.)

#1 Instructions (Slow Method)

This is the traditionally preferred method because it’s thought to best preserve the delicate constituents found in calendula. However, sometimes it’s just not practical to wait 4-6 weeks for a batch. For those times, I’ve included a faster method below.

  1. Place calendula petals in a clean, dry glass jar. Next, pour in the olive oil – add enough so that the petals are covered by about one inch of oil. My petals usually float when I first add the oil and then settle, so I watch the bottom of the jar to make sure there’s about 1 inch of pure oil so that I’m sure I’ve added enough. The reason this is done is that the petals expand as they soak in the liquid, so you add extra to ensure that they stay covered.
  2. Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and give it a good shake. Place the jar in a paper bag and store near a warm, sunny window. Some people skip the paper bag, but others believe it helps protect some of the valuable constituents found in calendula from breaking down due to UV light – I prefer the bag method. Give the jar a good shake when you walk by it every day.
  3. Once the oil has been infusing for 4-6 weeks, strain out the calendula petals and pour the oil in a clean, glass jar. Store in a cool, dark cabinet until needed.

#2 Instructions (Quick Method)

  1. Place calendula petals in a clean, dry glass jar. Next, pour in the olive oil – add enough so that the petals are covered by about one inch of oil. My petals usually float when I first add the oil and then settle, so I watch the bottom of the jar to make sure there’s about 1 inch of pure oil so that I’m sure I’ve added enough. The reason this is done is that the petals expand as they soak in the liquid, so you add extra to ensure that they stay covered.
  2. Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and give it a good shake.
  3. Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your slow cooker and place your jar inside. Add enough water to cover about half the jar and set to the lowest setting for 2-6 hours. I set mine to warm. Whether or not you place the lid on the slow cooker is largely determined by how hot it gets and how long you plan to infuse it. If you’re infusing it on low for 2-3 hours the lid will probably be helpful in helping it warm up more quickly and retain heat better, but if you’re infusing for 3-6 hours the lid may cause too much heat to be retained. You can always start with the lid and remove it if you decide to extend the infusing time. If your slow cooker tends to run hot I recommend leaving the lid off.
  4. Strain out the calendula petals using cheesecloth and pour the oil in a clean, glass jar. Store in a cool, dark cabinet until needed.

Safety Considerations

According to the Botanical Safety Handbook, calendula is a Safety Class 1A herb – the safest rating possible. However, older studies report that the internal use of calendula may stimulate menstruation, so it is not recommended for internal use during pregnancy. Topical use is considered fine.

Also, individuals who are allergic to ragweed may find that they are also sensitive to calendula.

As always, please check with your healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy.

Important Note: Infused oils are very different from essential oils, which I do not recommend taking internally unless under the care of a qualified healthcare provider. Infused oils use a carrier oil to extract components of the whole plant, while essential oils only extract the light aromatic compounds found in the plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is calendula the same plant as marigold?

Sometimes called pot marigold, calendula (Calendula officinalis) is different from the common marigold (Tagetes spp.) you’ll find in most garden centers. They’re part of the same family, though – Asteracea – along with daisies and chrysanthemums.

Why use whole flowers instead of just the petals?

I prefer them because dried whole flower with the green base tend to be more potent.

Can I use fresh calendula flowers?

If you use freshly-harvested flowers you’ll want to dry them before you infuse them in order to prevent mold or spoilage. I outline the method for using fresh flowers in my dandelion oil recipe.

What is the shelf life of this herbal oil? 

The shelf life of herbal oils is primarily determined by the shelf life of the herbal oil and the conditions it is stored in. Olive oil tends to have a shelf life of 1-2 years provided it is stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

An antioxidant such as vitamin E can be added to protect oils from early oxidation. I use 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E tocotrienols per 1 cup of oil.

More Nourishing Skin Care Recipes

Arnica Oil & Cream – Arnica has been traditionally used by Swiss mountaineers to prevent muscle soreness, and according to The New York Times, “scientists have found good evidence that it works.” When I injured my shoulder awhile ago, I made up a batch of arnica cream to use along with physical therapy. It was so helpful and it’s very simple to make, too!

Plantain Salve – Can you really make a first aid ointment out of a backyard weed and items in your pantry? Yes you can, and chances are your kids will love helping you gather “medicine.”

Print

How To Make Calendula Oil

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Calendula’s soothing properties make it a favorite for supporting wound healing, nourishing skin and even promoting gut health. Here are two super easy methods for making it into an infused oil.
Author Heather Dessinger

Instructions

Traditional Method

  • Place calendula petals in a clean, dry glass jar. Next, pour in the olive oil – add enough so that the petals are covered by about one inch of oil.

    My petals usually float when I first add the oil and then settle, so I watch the bottom of the jar to make sure there's about 1 inch of pure oil so that I'm sure I've added enough. The reason this is done is that the petals expand as they soak in the liquid, so you add extra to ensure that they stay covered.

  • Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and give it a good shake. Place the jar in a paper bag and store near a warm, sunny window. Some people skip the paper bag, but others believe it helps protect some of the valuable constituents found in calendula from breaking down due to UV light – I prefer the bag method. Give the jar a good shake when you walk by it every day.
  • Once the oil has been infusing for 4-6 weeks, strain out the calendula petals and pour the oil in a clean, glass jar. Store in a cool, dark cabinet until needed.

Faster Method

  • Place calendula petals in a clean, dry glass jar. Next, pour in the olive oil – add enough so that the petals are covered by about one inch of oil.

    My petals usually float when I first add the oil and then settle, so I watch the bottom of the jar to make sure there's about 1 inch of pure oil so that I'm sure I've added enough. The reason this is done is that the petals expand as they soak in the liquid, so you add extra to ensure that they stay covered.

  • Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and give it a good shake.
  • Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your slow cooker and place your jar inside. Add enough water to cover about half the jar and set to the lowest setting for 2-6 hours. I set mine to warm.

    Whether or not you place the lid on the slow cooker is largely determined by how hot it gets and how long you plan to infuse it. If you're infusing it on low for 2-3 hours the lid will probably be helpful in helping it warm up more quickly and retain heat better, but if you're infusing for 3-6 hours the lid may cause too much heat to be retained. You can always start with the lid and remove it if you decide to extend the infusing time. If your slow cooker tends to run hot I recommend leaving the lid off.

  • Strain out the calendula petals using cheesecloth and pour the oil in a clean, glass jar. Store in a cool, dark cabinet until needed.

Want research-backed natural remedies?

No problem, I’ve created a free ebook for you – Kitchen Apothecary: 25+ Natural Remedies Using Ingredients From Your Pantry – as a gift for signing up for my newsletter. You’ll also get updates when I post about safe essential oils for pregnant/breastfeeding mamas, exclusive gifts and coupons (I was able to give away a jar of free coconut oil to anyone who wanted it recently!), plus other goodies.

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Sources

Della, Loggia R., et. al. (1994) The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers

Continue reading How To Make Calendula Oil (And 7 Ways To Use It)

Original source: https://mommypotamus.com/calendula-oil-benefits-uses/


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